This dish nourishes the body and suits all constitutions. Recommended in the colder months, in the warmer months it may be heavy. People with vāta disorders or digestion problems should not consume too often.

Bisi-bele bāth

Preparation: 1 hour

Serves: 6

All spoon measurements are heaped unless otherwise stated.


1 cup/200g toor dāl
8 cups/2-litres water
1 medium/115g carrot
1 medium/150g potato
1 cup/105g cabbage/green beans
15 curry leaves
1 cup/200g white basmati rice

2 heaped Tbsp jaggery
1 Tbsp tamarind paste
2 tsp fine rock salt
1 Tbsp ghee
¼ cup/25g frozen peas
½ cup coriander leaves, chopped

Sambar-coconut paste 
2 Tbsp sambar powder (moderately spiced)
½ cup/40g dried shredded coconut
2 cups/500ml water – divided

1 Tbsp ghee
¼ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida powder (depending on the strength of your asafoetida)
¼ tsp turmeric powder


1.  Cut vegetables into small uniform pieces. Measure out remaining ingredients – set aside.

2.  Wash dāl until water runs clear, drain, add water, vegetables, and bring to boil, reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the dāl starts to soften.

3.  Add rice to dāl and curry leaves – simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Sambar-coconut paste

4.  In an upright blender, add coconut, sambar powder and pour in 1½ cups water. 

5.  Grind for 1 minute.

6. Add to dāl, pour remaining ½ cup water to swish blender clean. Simmer for 5 minutes, adding more water if needed.

7.  Turn off heat, add jaggery, tamarind, salt, ghee and green peas. Stir, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.


8.  In a small pan, over medium-high heat, heat ghee, add mustard seeds; when seeds turn grey and pop, reduce heat, add asafoetida and turmeric, swish or stir pan to fry spices evenly – add to dāl.

9.  Taste, adding more salt, sambar powder, jaggery or tamarind.



Once every two weeks, goes well with raita or plain yogurt. Suitable during the day and in cooler months.

1. Cut vegetables, set aside

2. Rinse dāl

3. Add water

4. Add vegetables

5. Simmer 20 mins

6. While dāl and vegetables cook, measure remaining ingredients

7. Add rice

8. Add curry leaves

9. Simmer 20 mins

10. SAMBAR-COCONUT PASTE: In blender, add 1½ cups water

11. Add coconut and sambar

12. Griind until smooth, 1 min

13. Add to dāl and vegetables

14. Simmer 5 mins

15. Add tamarind, jaggery and salt

16. Add ghee. Set aside

17. VOGGARANE: Heat ghee

18. Add mustard seeds; when seeds pop

19. Add asafoetida

20. Add turmeric

21. Swish to fry evenly

22. Add to bisi-bele-bāth

23. Add coriander

24. Mix and allow to sit 5 mins before serving.